Israel approves Tlaib request to visit grandmother in West Bank

Israel's interior minister, Aryeh Deri, on Friday announced he would approve a request from U.S. Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing MORE (D-Mich.) to enter Israel to visit her Palestinian relatives in the West Bank, according to multiple reports.

ADVERTISEMENT

The move comes a day after Israel had announced it would deny entry to Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (D-Minn) for a scheduled trip, citing the lawmakers' past criticism of the country.

The decision to block their entry came shortly after a tweet from President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE to block the House members' visit, saying it would "show great weakness" to let them visit.

Trump's move drew criticism across Washington, as pro-Israel groups condemned the president for threatening U.S.-Israel relations, foreign policy experts warned of strained diplomatic ties and stunned Democrats issued statements denouncing the president for pressuring a foreign government to deny his American political opponents rights of free passage. 

Shortly after Israel's announcement on Thursday that it would not allow her to enter the country, Tlaib shared a photo of her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank.

"The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening," Tlaib wrote in a tweet alongside the photo.

Netanyahu had previously indicated that Tlaib would be able to visit her relatives should she file a humanitarian request despite Israel's decision barring her entry.

"If Congresswoman Tlaib filed a humanitarian request to meet her family members, subject to a commitment that she would not act to promote the boycotts against Israel, the interior minister announced he would consider this request," he said in a statement.

Tlaib said in her humanitarian request that the visit may be her last chance to see her grandmother, adding that she would not promote boycotts of Israel while in the region.

"This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit,” she wrote, according to The Guardian.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit the country on Sunday as part of their own fact-finding trip after declining to join a congressional delegation of more than 70 lawmakers this week.

The two freshmen congresswomen are vocal supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement which encourages businesses and private entities to avoid doing business with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Both women vocally opposed efforts in Congress to oppose that movement this year, and have remained frequent critics of Israel's government as well as the Trump administration.

--Updated at 7:28 a.m.